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Future DIL - advice please.(51 Posts)
I am really happy for my son as he has found 'the one' as he says! I was not ecstatic about how the relationship came about but as I have gotten to know his partner, who he now lives with, I have become very fond of her and find her great company, most importantly she loves my son deeply. We have begun to spend time now with her parents on a regular basis. A couple of weeks ago my son told us we are going to be grandparents too - after the shock (Im only 41!) we are becoming quite excited about it all.
I have read many, many threads on here about disasterous MIL/DIL relationships and have had a nasty MIL in my distant past. I want future DIL to feel welcome and accepted into our family, considering our bumpy start, and have been considering ways of making her feel welcome. I don't want to overstep the mark and create any friction within their relationship and my son is not attached to my apron strings (apart from asking for a dish of his favourite meal to be dropped in occasionally)! I realise that I will not be as involved with the pregnancy as if it were one of my daughters but I would like to do something to support her along the way and to feel a part of this exciting event...I considered making a hamper of pamper things for her or maybe taking her shopping but I know her time is short as she works long days. I also realise that sometimes I run away with myself through excitement and that others don't always share the same intensity of excitement with me!
So, any tips, suggestions, words of advice, even a faux pas to avoid?
Also stacking the freezer with homemade food is the best thing ever! My mum did that for me, and it was great
Something for her to treat herself with. I would have loved a voucher to spend on maternity clothes to help me feel nicer during pregnancy.
I have a mil who has been a pain and a fil and his wife who have been wonderful. Because of this we only see mil when she starts getting cross and we stay with fil over night most weekends.
Mil was useless she outstayed her welcome when she came over even when my husband said which train to arrive on and which to leave (the baby was 1 day old!) she did nothing at all but hog the baby. I loved showing him off and letting people have cuddles but after a while I really missed him in those early days and it was impossible to get him back. She did nothing to help. Obviously help has to be done sensitively as it can come across as you don't think much of their cleaning standards but definitely ask what you can do to help so they can spend more time as a family. Mil didn't make a single cup of tea or even take her cup out to the kitchen. She expected to be waited on completely.
Fil and his wife on the otherhand stood back a little, very excited about the baby but with no pressure. Just tell us when you are ready for us to visit. When they came over they brought champagne food for when they were here and also left us a 3 course ready prepared home cooked meal which was lovely. In fact they dropped off a meal every week for the first 4 or 5 months. We appreciated that so much as after the first month everyone expects you to get on with it so it was nice to still feel cared for!
As far as buying things take the lead from them and really keep a note of what they like and don't like. Mil once turned up saying I know you don't like babygros (dh and I hate all the poppers!) however I had to buy this babygro with ducks on as it was so cute. She is never interested in helping us with practical things she only will buy what she likes which often isn't what we want or need.
In contrast fil and his wife bought us a present when ds was born but said we want to buy you something else but something useful so see what you need when you have settled a bit. We didn't have a baby monitor so when ds was about 3 months and we were talking about putting him in his own room they said would you like us to buy you that, take your pick whichever you would like get the best you can find. They also make us feel at home at theirs as they have gradually set it up a bit for him. They have the ikea highchair there and one of his beakers and a changing mat and a massive basket of toys. It is the little things that make a difference like how whenever we stay they alway get full fat milk in without fail even though they normally have skimmed-it is being thoughtful about the little things.
Agree with brass as well, you may be as close as your daughters, however I do understand your worries here, mil for her part is very aware that I'm immensely close with my folks so has never pushed any issues there, however, for a nice bonding thing I took both the mums to a scan at 30 weeks to show them the sex of the baby, which we hadn't told them, so it was an all around binding experience for us all.
Likewise when she's visited we had coffee mornings together, I'm not sure if your daughter in law would be the same or not.
My first mother in law was a nightmare though from the off she described ds1 as 'her baby' I was a little pfb about it all, however the mark was over stepped from the off, which I wasn't happy with.
So I think just have a bit of a bonding thing pop your thoughts out there, and don't be too upset if she does get a bit overwhelmed with it all, but you'll know her better than us so take her lead and see how it goes. Good luck, you sound very much like the sort of caring mother in law my second one is.
dont make reference to her loosing her baby weight when baby is 3 days old!!
but joking aside OP you sound lovely and by even thinking about these things you have shown that you want a good relationship and thats half the battle!
The fact that you are thinking about this means that you will be sensitive to want your DIL and son need and want. If in doubt just ask but without putting any pressure on them.
Second all the food ideas. My MIL is great, she has made them all individual quilts (which I hope they will keep for their kids - my DIL are going to love me - not). I did feel under a bit of pressure during the pregnancy, lots of calls to check that all was well. Also, check with them when you can tell other people. My MIL started to tell her friends before the 3 month mark, I'd had a miscarriage previously and really didn't want people I didn't know personally to know that I was pregnant at this stage.
As said before you merely thinking about these things means you're going to be great. I would say make sure you keep the communication open and honest, so your DIL feels comfortable to ask you for things or to spend tine with you but can also explain politely if there's something she doesn't like so it doesn't come between you. I wish my MIL was approachable, as you seem, sadly mine thinks she knows better with everything and doesn't listen to my wishes which makes me want to spend the least amount of time as possible with her.
Dh's aunt did the hamper of practical stuff and it was great though I would inxlude things like a nice body lotion some chocolates maybe a box set and some hot chocolate powder (for some reason I craved hot chocolate after giving birth!)
There is a lovely "Congratulations" set of pregnancy toiletries by Mamma Mio. I agree that focusing on presents for her for now is a good start.
If you have it, offer money to buy something for the baby, but let them make the decision.
You sound like you'll be great!
Thank you so much, everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. Your replies have got me thinking of so much more than I had considered which is a good thing.
Brass I know my future DIL is close to her mum and her mum has attended appointments with her on the odd occasion. I just assumed that she would generally call on her mum initially because mothers and daughters tend to remain far closer than mothers and sons as adults. However I take your point on board and will be more open minded.
I know I have had three of my own babies but I just can't believe my son and his partner are going to have their own baby. It's wonderful!
Box set is v good idea for when she's laid up in the last stages or feeding afterwards...I worked my way through the entire West Wing! But maybe something a bit more modern depending on her tastes...Game of Thrones? Comedy?
Also in terms of general relationship, something to remember is to try not to let your dil become an afterthought. My MIL is lovely but she worries dreadfully about my dh (for no good reason). That leads her to do some properly stupid things like taking dh and ds out for 5 hours a weeks after my dd was born leaving me at home on my own feeling rough with a tiny newborn with no one to hold her so I could have a shower. Dh got it majorly in the neck for that one but I know at times he gets swept along with his mother and doesn't think. Her only thought was to give hef son a break, she seemed to totally forget that I'd just given birth and perhaps needed dh around!
I suppose the thing to remember is that ykur dh and dil are a unit of their own now. My MIL often acts like we
are two parents looking after dh which is bloody weird. She rings me rather than him and asks about his health etc. I hate it. I am not her co-parent and dh is not my child!
OP can I just say you sound lovely!! I agree that maybe you should express how you feel to her, that you're so happy and excited about the baby but are worried about ovet stepping your boundaries. im expecting my first and my mil is great and we get on but I think she's gone too far the opposite way in not wanting to be too full on that she almost doesn't seem interested. I've had to tell her that she is welcome round to see baby whenever she wants otherwise I fear she might not come. the odd phone call or text is nice to see how she and baby are doing, my partner talks to his mum often so she knows how I am but a text every so often would be nice!!
Ah OP, so pleased for you and you do sound lovely indeed. I have a great relationship with my MIL as she always asks what we need. Sometimes I'm a little reluctant to say as I know she'll go and buy whatever it is (in a good way of course!). MIL came to visit just after our DD was born and brought a big box of home cooked meals, biscuits and chocs for me and cheese for hubby! It was great in the first few weeks when we didn't have to worry about cooking!
She also now calls me once a fortnight for a chat which is lovely, she always asks how I am and obviously the baby gets a mention too! We're old fashioned letter writers in our family and get a fortnightly letter from her, which always is nice to read! (MIL lives 200 miles away BTW)
Just keep everything casual and I'm sure your DIL will love to have you involved!
My MIL has from the start expressed her loyalty to me....she hugged me like a Mother would and calls DH and I "the kids" which not all grown women would like but for me just illustrates that she sees me as one of her own.
She has always stuck up for me when DH and I have had bickers in the past. She sends me little gifts as she lives abroad and she knows we struggle for money.x
Rather than seeing it as DIL joining your family, think of it as you joining DIL and sons family.
Because, a new family is being created, one that you are part of but not the centre of.
I think you are going to be fine. You sound caring and enjoying someone's company is a great start.
* ... a new family is being created, one that you are part of but not the centre of.* Wish someone had told my MIL this! You are obviously keen to have a good relationship with both your DS and DIL That's really important, I think. My MIL couldn't get her head around the fact that when it comes to being a parent, her own DS might do things differently from the way she and FIL did them. Anything different was seen as a direct challenge to her central role (as she believed it to be) in our lives, and a challenge like that must have come from me. If only she had chatted more to both of us instead of jumping to conclusions and making up what she didn't know ...
ditto daytoday and planetearth
my MIL thought she was doing me a favour allowing me to be a part of their family but in reality she was an addition to the one DH and I had created.
My mil and I have a great relationship, and she often pops to see me when dp and dc are working/at school, although she lives abroad so not as much as I'd like
I recently took the dc to stay with her for 3 weeks (!) and left dp at home
We had a great time and I'd go again tomorrow if I could, I love my dm but more than a couple of days in her company and I go a bit stir crazy, so it doesn't always follow that you will be the one that's 'left out'.
You sound lovely op, your new family is lucky to have you.
Don't do what my MIL did which was phone every day after the birth( for weeks) and ask me how dS was sleeping! It actually made me hate her!
I think she was trying to be positive and supportive but when the answer was 'badly' all the time (he was a baby, don't they all sleep badly!) it just made me feel so GRRrRrRr!
She'd have been better off offering to come up and do a night with the baby so we could sleep, without actually asking how he slept at all. Around 6 weeks in would have been ideal!
Gifts sound nice but I would be wary of personal care items. If my mil bought me something like nipple cream I would be mortified.
I would also make it clear you would love to help but ask them what and when would be useful - otherwise they might feel they can't ask.
My advice would be:
1. Definitely make your DIL feel you care about her and she is not just the carrier of the blessed grandchild. I really like it when my MIL buys me little things she knows I like (like a particular juice or meringues) because it makes me feel like she thinks of me and not just the children and DH.
2. Do not offer "helpful" parenting advice. My mum and MIL both freely admit they couldn't get their kids to sleep. So I feel I can moan to them with no worries that they will turn around and say "oh well, I just left them to cry - you should as well". Both of them go "you want to know how to get babies to sleep? Don't ask us!" I love that. They do offer advice on specific areas if I ask, but never offer otherwise.
3. Practical help is great. I remember how my mum came and did all the slog work when the babies were born. She didn't just sit and hug the baby. I think my MIL would be too scared to do anything practical in case it offended me in my own house but I honestly would have loved if she had said "Look, is there anything I can do like washing up or cooking? I am sure you are on top of it, but I'd love you to relax and have time cuddling the baby if you would like it".
4. Try and spend time with your DIL as a person and not just your DS (if this seems appropriate). My MIL often comes down to visit at a time when DH is at work. I have no idea why, but I like the time we spend together with the kids. It's fun. And it makes me feel again that she comes to see US as a family, not just the blood relatives!
Thank you for all the tips re. our relationship. They are already being put into use and I'm slowly finding my feet in this new experience!
You sound amazing.
Yes, stand back, but don't stand back so much that they don't know that you are there for them.
I wish my MIL was half as decent as you! Good luck and she doesn't know how lucky she is to have you!
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